Macarthur FC invests in its community with new ‘Bulls in Schools’ program

Macarthur FC Bulls in Schools

Macarthur FC has partnered with the NSW Government to instigate a new community outreach program ‘Bulls in Schools’.

The program that will be based in south-west Sydney will be a partnership between A-League clubs Macarthur, Western Sydney Wanderers and the NSW government.

The deal is set to benefit up to 40,000 students and will focus on delivering football programs to school students within the region the clubs are based out of.

The Football in Schools Program that Bulls in Schools is a component of is set to be a major part of the upcoming NSW state budget.

The program will last for four years and will cost $14.5 million.

It is set to feature a wide range of initiatives that will aim to get more students to participate in sport.

These programs will mainly centre on after school programs and are set to be delivered both in-schools and on-site at the Bulls and Wanders A-league training facilities.

In the spirit of diversity, the program is set to include targeted female, multicultural, and all-abilities programs.

NSW Minister for Sport, Steve Kamper, spoke of the opportunity that this program will have for so many students.

“40,000 kids will be able to participate in football programs with some of the best footballers and coaches in our nation,” he said via press release.

“The Football in Schools Program will see more Western Sydney students participating in sport and enjoying the benefits of that it offers. “We understand that families in Western Sydney are feeling the crunch of cost-of-living pressures and this free program will ensure that no child regardless of their background or ability misses out.”

Prue Car, Member for Western Sydney and NSW Minister for Education, also added to these sentiments.

“Education is not just about books and laptops, some of the best lessons in life are on the sports field,” she said via press release.

“By working in partnership with the Western Sydney Wanderers and Macarthur FC, the Football in Schools Program will bring the classroom to the football pitch.”

Macarthur FC Chairman Gino Marra added to the club’s delight in being able to use this opportunity to engrain itself further in the south-west Sydney community.

“This commitment by the NSW Government into our Bulls in Schools and community program is a major investment into the future of south-west Sydney,” he said via press release.

“The key pillars our community programs are health & wellbeing, education and inclusion. We are proud to have had more than 60,000 children take part and today’s commitment from the state government will significantly expand the scope of our program across our region.”

This is a huge announcement both in terms of supporting the local community and developing football in NSW.

By having both major south-western Sydney clubs joined together on this program it shows the ability of major stake holders in the sport to come together for the sport and its next generation development.

Even though football at the highest level is naturally competitive, it is great to see clubs put aside these difference in order to help grow the game in diverse and inclusive ways.

WSL eyeing enormous 150% increase to broadcast rights deal

In a historic first for football in the UK, every single Women’s Super League match is set to be broadcasted live from next season across multiple channels.

The WSL tender document issued to broadcasters this month features all 132 league games, with 56 to be sold exclusively and the remaining 76 available on a non-exclusive basis.

Under the terms of the existing deal that expires at the end of the current season, Sky broadcast 35 matches-a-season and the BBC 22, with the rest streamed for free on the FA’s website.

The tender document is asking for a huge £20 million ($38.48 million) a year TV deal and this 150% increase to the value of its broadcasting deal is far from surprising following the explosion of the women’s game. This figure is set to be confirmed as soon as they can find the right suitors.

In an attempt to gain an increase from the existing £7.75 million ($14.91 million) a year deal, the WSL have responded by making every match available for broadcast, which the league hoped would attract bids from beyond current rights holders Sky Sports and the BBC, It looks to be working.

Sky Sports and the BBC are set to bid again on the rights and extend the current partnership whilst it is said that this potential deal is also attracting networks like TNT Sports and DAZN.

The Premier League and EFL have stood firm on the UEFA blackout that suggests all 3pm Saturday matches are not shown on TV, to encourage locals to attend matches in person. This means the WSL will have to work around it and it is likely that Saturday lunchtime and Sunday afternoons remain as the most common kick-off times.

There is little the WSL are having to do to persuade broadcasters into putting their hands up for these rights, which is a testament to the sport’s current growth and upward trajectory it is trending towards.

FA Director of Women’s football, Kelly Simmons, explained how important it was to secure this monumental broadcast deal.

“While we’ve been developing this it’s been so hard to sit on it because it’s so exciting for the women’s game. It is transformational,” Simmons said in an interview with Guardian Sport.

“When I first came into this role, we said that we really thought women’s football could really break into the mainstream and this is mainstream, this is prime slots on television, big audiences, week in week out.”

This deal in particular launches women’s football into the mainstream and helps improve the quality of the product which goes a long way to opening the eyes of a huge audience to its impact as a sport and socially.

Premier League continues talks on cost control and EFL funding

Premier League club bosses are holding further talks regarding cost control measures for clubs competing in European football and additional funding for the EFL.

The top flight is examining the introduction of a model along similar lines to UEFA’s squad cost ratio, which by 2025-26 will cap the spending of clubs involved in European competitions on wages, transfer fees and agent costs at 70 per cent of revenue.

It is understood that clubs in the Premier League not competing in European competitions will be allowed more leeway on spending, with a ratio of around 85 per cent of revenue having been discussed. This is potentially to ensure a more level playing field for mid table Premier League clubs who are struggling to break that barrier.

There is a major roadblock, however, in these talks with relegated Premier League clubs still earning parachute payments in their first season back in the Championship and being able to continue working to the 85 per cent ratio whilst the bottom half Championship clubs are working on a much tighter budget, closer to the 70 per cent UEFA mark.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters spoke about these talks advancing and what it means for the future of both leagues.

“We have some proposals out for consultation with our clubs about moving and aligning more with the UEFA system,” Masters said at the Culture, Media and Sport committee.

“Some of the issues that are still at debate between the EFL and the Premier League and internally within the Premier League itself are about trying to find a resolution on exactly how the financial regulatory system will work in the future.

“There’s an area of disagreement between us on how cost controls are going to work. Because obviously if you’re going to put more money into a system, that system has to be properly regulated. That system has yet to be fully agreed on how Championship clubs, how relegated clubs and how Premier League clubs operate a common system.” he concluded.

In terms of the extra funding agreement being discussed, EFL Chairman Rick Parry announced that his competition was prepared to accept an amount that would equate to 14.75 per cent of the two competitions’ net media revenues, which he said worked out at an extra £125million ($240 million) a year.

Whilst this is a huge positive for the footballing ladder in England, there is still a debate amongst clubs and representatives over how the extra funding to the EFL should be paid out.

Recently relegated sides are already working on a bigger budget, whilst sides in the bottom half are struggling to pay player wages with this disparity being completely unacceptable.

So it definitely begs the question, does majority of the extra £125million ($240 million) a year go towards helping bottom clubs compete in the long term? or would that be a stain on the league’s integrity and fair play values?

Votes were not casted in last week’s meetings regarding cost control measures or extra funding, but reports suggest that a conclusion is being made swiftly with both parties eager to agree on a fair deal.

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